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Recovering From A Water Damage

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

a flooded kitchen in a home with floating debris in the water Flooded Kitchen

When it comes to water damage in the U.S., almost 40% of homes have incurred losses due to this type of occurrence. Most of these problems are caused by a neglected or damaged roofs, old or faulty plumbing, broken washers and water heaters. Natural disasters such a flood events or hurricanes also ruin homes and businesses with their destructive forces.

During a water damage disaster, many homeowners and businesses feel hopeless, especially if most of the structure is still under water. The situation may appear bleak, but in most cases, there is a great chance of recovering your home or business from water damage quickly. The first step is not to panic. Keep calm and figure out where to begin. This is where an Emergency Plan should be considered before an event like this strikes. Check out https://www.ready.gov/plan. Here are some simple steps to guide you to a successful home recovery after water damage.

Think Safety

The number one priority should be the safety of you and your family. If there is standing water, begin by switching off electrical power to the entire house or the flooded area. Live electricity and water are a lethal combination. Secondly, shut off the main water inlet valve to prevent any possibility of contaminating the water system. In a large flood, you may also need to cut off the gas supply also. Identify and dispose of any damaged food; this will prevent food poisoning by accidental consumption. Don’t wade through a flooded floor without proper protection, especially in murky water. Sharp objects may be lurking at the bottom of the water. Wear sturdy waterproof boots when walking in a flooded area.

Remove The Moisture

The next step is to get rid of the moisture. In a heavy flooding situation, wait till the floods dissipate before you can start drying out your house. if environment is safe to do so, use electric, gas or hand trash pumps to remove water. Locate the lowest part of the flooded floor and place the pumps there. Be careful with electric-powered pumps to avoid electric shock. You could dump the excess water into the sewage system, a tanker truck, or the backyard where it won’t cause any harm. After all the water is out, circulate dry air within the house. Open up windows and doors to let in the fresh air. If it’s safe to use the mains system, install electric fans to blow air to specific areas. Even better, if the heating system is still usable, power it up to warm the house and drive moisture away. Drying out the house can reduce mold from growing. 

Pick Up Debris

Clear out any debris brought in by the water. Flood water is especially messy; there may be sediments, leaves, tree branches and even garbage. Identify anything that can be salvaged. This could be your precious heirlooms, rugs, furniture or drapes. Any salvageable belongings should be kept in a separate dry room if possible, or away from the house altogether. Anything that is severely damaged should be disposed of and documented for insurance purposes. Clear out as much debris as possible to reveal the extent of the water damage.

Assess Water Damage

With everything out of the way and visible, you can now assess the level of damage sustained. You may need to call in an inspector with an eye for details to examine the property in its entirety. Check for damage or mold on the floor, walls and plumbing system. Get a clear picture of the extent of damage, what needs to be done to repair the damages. This may be the time to call SERVPRO of St. Louis Central to put together a restoration protocol to put your St. Louis home back to its preloss condition.

Call Your Insurance Carrier

After a detailed assessment of the damage, call your insurance agent or carrier to find out how much of the damage they will cover. Your insurer will probably send a claims adjuster who will document all the steps you have taken so far and the valuation of damages. According to your insurance policy, the insurer could chip in a large part of the repair and restoration costs. Contact other insurers covering assets like your car or other valuables damaged along with the house.

Repairing Your Property

Now its time to begin repairs on your home. If only some rooms of the house are damaged, your family could still live in the safe parts of the house. However, if the house needs extensive repairs, you may have to find a temporal shelter. SERVPRO of St. Louis Central can carry out all the necessary repairs to your home or business from emergency mitigation and building stabilization to complete reconstruction of your property. Most water damage repairs include floor, walls and doors repairs or replacements. Check with the authorities whether certain repairs are allowed or require a city permit, SERVPRO can provide this for you also. The restoration period depends on the extent of the damage. Floor work usually takes a lot of time, so make sure you are prepared for that. After the repairs, make a few touch ups like paint jobs and restoring any peripheral systems such as plumbing and electrical systems in case they were damaged as well. Again, SERVPRO can provide all these different services to you since we are a "Full Service" contractor.

Ready To Move Back

After all the repairs are done, the house is finally back to its preloss condition, its now time to move back in. Bring in your furniture and belongings and prepare for things to go back to normal "Like it never even happened."

If you have had the misfortune of water damage striking, relax and follow a these steps for a speedy recovery. 

September is National Preparedness Month

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

A picture with an icon of a tornado, an icon of a flashlight and an icon of a battery for national preparedness month National Preparedness Month

Did You Know September is National Preparedness Month?

Have you taken steps in preparing for any type of emergency or natural disaster that could strike your home, your business or St. Louis community?

Have you lead any efforts in the St. Louis region as a whole to become more prepared in the event of a natural disaster? Disasters happen and not only can devastate individuals and their property but entire neighborhoods and communities!

Here Are 4 Steps You Can Take To Prepare (ready.gov):

1. Make a Plan - Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure your family is informed and practiced in your emergency plan. 2020 has been you unique year with the COVID-19 pandemic so make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control recommendations due to the coronavirus.

2. Build a Kit - Gather emergency supplies that will last for several days after a natural disaster for everyone living in your home.  Don’t forget to consider the unique needs each person or pet may have in case you have to evacuate quickly.

3. Prepare for Natural Disasters and Emergencies- Limit the impacts that disasters have on you and your family.  Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.

4. Educate your kids, their friends and your family - Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Reassure them by providing information about how they can get involved. There are some great resources at ready.gov/september

Whether its a wildfire, flood, tornado or even an earthquake, we need to work together as a team to help ensure our families, friends, businesses, places of worship and our community as a whole are prepared.

Contact SERVPRO of St. Louis Central to find out how we can help make it "Like it never even happened," if a disaster strikes in your life.

Cleaning Contents After a Fire

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

Damaged buidling and charred contents from a fire Fire Damaged Contents and building
  •  Make Sure It's Safe To Start

Your first concern in every fire damage restoration disaster is safety.  SERVPRO of St. Louis Central takes steps to make sure all workers entering your home or business after a fire are safe. It is important that the structure is safe before the evaluation and restoration process begins.

Also, keep in mind that, after a fire, indoor air contains floating smoke and soot particles. Smoke/soot particles are Products of Incomplete Combustion (PIC). These are carcinogens and are dangerous. When cleaning up smoke/soot, it is important to wear a respirator, such as an N-95 or N-100. Using gloves and other protective clothing will also protect against soot exposure. Ventilation is key to letting the contaminants in the air outside.

  • Evaluating Damaged Contents

The next step is to determine which items should be cleaned and where, as well as which items to discard. Cost and antique value are key consideration factors. SERVPRO inspects the affected items as quickly as possible, as soot can produce further damage or corrode contents and appliances in a matter of hours or days, depending on the material.

In many cases, contents that have been damaged directly by the fire or by excessive heat should not be discarded until inspected. SERVPRO knows how to clean smoke damage from salvageable items.

Most textile goods like draperies and bedding will be taken to our laundry division or dry-cleaning facility. Other contents that can be restored, such as furniture, may be cleaned within the home or sent to our facility.

Food items must be treated with caution. Any open items should be thrown away. Unopened items in original packaging that were away from the heat can be considered safe. If there is any doubt, throw the items away.

Keep in mind that melted or discolored plastic items can’t be restored, only cleaned.

  •  Inventory Of Your Contents

If a “pack out” (removing contents out of the structure where damage occurred) is necessary, our SERVPRO technicians will keep careful records for items taken, location of the items, and condition of the items when removed. In other cases, we may determine that conditions allow for cleaning and storing the contents within the home, or perhaps a garage if property has one. An inventory of all discarded items is essential to receiving monetary reimbursement when filing an insurance claim.

  •  Contents Cleaning

SERVPRO will perform testing to determine the appropriate product to clean your contents. Today’s restoration professionals will use environmentally friendly products for all cleaning and restoration processes. This is an important consideration when choosing a restoration company.

SERVPRO begins to remove soot from each restorable item — either in the home or at our facility. The cleaning method depends on the item, such as furniture, kitchen utensils, dishes, toys, clothing, bedding, draperies, and more.

  • Removing Odors

Pungent odors come with smoke/soot damage. After the cleaning process, most of the smoke odor will be eliminated. Yet, if there is still a small odor, we may add an additional step to the restoration process. This could include ozone or hydroxyl deodorizing. Learn more about processes: Odor Removal

  • For Fire Damage Cleanup and Restoration, Call SERVPRO of St. Louis Central at (314) 260-7177

When the contents of a home or business are damaged by smoke/soot, mitigating the fire damage, cleaning, and restoring the contents to its preloss condition is a job for restoration professionals. SERVPRO of St. Louis Central technicians know how to clean smoke damage from contents quickly, ethically and professionally. When you call us, we’ll mitigate the loss and restore your property using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques.

AT SERVPRO, WE RESPOND IMMEDIATELY

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

A receptionist at a desk answering the phone. SERVPRO Administrative Assistant

When You Need a Rapid Response to Your Damage, We Respond Immediately

SERVPRO of St. Louis Central knows that when you call our company, you may be feeling overwhelmed, confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through the crisis you have just endured. SERVPRO of St. Louis Central has specific fire, water and smoke damage training and the expertise to help you through your dilemma. We specialize in fire, water, smoke and storm damage cleanup and restoration. In fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect When You Call

When you call, our friendly representative will ask several questions regarding the type of damage you have incurred. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring with us when we deploy, including how many trained SERVPRO restoration specialists that may be needed for your particular situation.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information including your phone number and email address
  • Your insurance carrier (if applicable)
  • Has a claim been turned in?
  • Name of Adjuster (if assigned)
  • The street address of your home or business
  • When did the damage occur?
  • What caused the damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity and water available (on-site)?
  • Is there standing water (if applicable)?
  • What year was the home or business built?

About SERVPRO of St. Louis Central

SERVPRO of St. Louis Central specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage. SERVPRO can also mitigate mold and mildew from your home or business.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO of St. Louis Central.

Lightning Strikes Can Impact Your Home or Business

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning Striking a Roof Lightning striking a rooftop during a thunderstorm

The Dangers of Lightning

During a St. Louis thunderstorm, lightning is a serious concern that can affect your home or business; a thunderstorm can easily create worry about a potential lightning strike that can seriously damage your roof, structure and appliances. Along with strong winds and fallen branches damaging the structure, there is also a risk of a lightning fire. Lightning is not a top reason for a structure fire, a lightning strike can affect your home and business causing hidden fires to start.

Risks Concerning a Lightning Strike

If lightning strikes your home or business, you could be faced with the following scenarios:

Fire: Along with a potential lightning strike hitting the roof or attic area, it could lead to decking, attic insulation or other hidden flammable items being caught on fire.

Power Surges: Bolts prefer to travel the fastest route from the sky to the ground. That often means crossing paths with the wiring and plumbing systems in a home. If a power line in the area was hit, it can also result in a surge that may damage appliances. Electronics, including any smart devices associated with the building, can also be severely damaged.

Shock Wave: The thunder boom in the sky can become very destructive as it gets closer. The explosive shock lightning emits can be powerful enough to break windows, crack foundations, or damage bricks and stones.

After a Strike:
If your home or business is hit by lightning, immediately call 911. A lighting fire isn’t always visible at first glance, so it’s best to have the experts verify your home is safe. Once your St. Louis home or business is deemed safe to enter, you can assess the damage and file an insurance claim. Along with getting the wiring in your home inspected by a certified electrician, it is a good idea to have the structural integrity of the home checked. If there was a fire, contact a SERVPRO specialist at (314) 260-7177 to get your house or business back to “Like it never even happened.”
Although a lightning fire may not be common, lightning strikes are. Staying aware and taking swift action can help limit secondary damage to your home or business.

Our Commercial Large Loss Division

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

Large Loss Mobile Command Center 53' Commercial Mobile Command Center Trailer.

Our Commercial Large Loss Team

When disaster strikes St. Louis, the clock starts ticking. That's why you can count on SERVPRO of St. Louis Central's commercial large loss division for rapid deployment with to any situation, no matter how difficult or complex the loss is. In the aftermath of a disaster, you’ll want an emergency response service that you can rely on to get the job done quickly and professionally to avoid any undesired business interruptions. That’s where SERVPRO comes in.

We offer rapid large loss emergency response solutions to safely secure your business, and to help prevent any secondary damage. These services are all carried out by SERVPRO's disaster recovery team, bringing over 20+ years of experience and specialized knowledge. Our service includes:

• Commercial Water Damage Restoration

 Commercial Fire Damage Restoration

 Commercial Mold Remediation

• Commercial Storm and Major Events

Knowing where to call for assistance after you’ve been struck by disaster helps make the recovery process as quick and simple as possible when facing the aftermath of a catastrophic event. That’s why SERVPRO's emergency disaster response team is easy to contact — whenever you need us.

SERVPRO operates a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year. The hotline goes directly to our company-owned and operated trained personnel who will record the information about your loss and notify our team members, who will contact you immediately. Once the information is confirmed, SERVPRO will dispatch resources to your business within four hours, depending on distance, other external factors, and if it is safe to do so.

Call SERVPRO of Effingham, Mattoon, Charleston at (217) 536-6655 when you need the industry's best in cleanup and restoration!

Why Would You Want Commercial Insurance?

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

A person holding an insurance policy A person holding an insurance declaration page.

If you own or run a business in St. Louis County, it’s extremely important to have a commercial insurance policy to protect your assets from a potential catastrophic fire or other catastrophe. This type of insurance may prove invaluable in many ways after an emergency. Here are a few reasons you may want to consider having commercial insurance.

1. Commercial Insurance May Cover Restoration Costs

In most cases, a fire or water restoration process at your business can include a number of costs for both the structural repairs, fire damage cleanup, the contents cleaning, document restoration, and any additional services that might be restored. That can be a lot of different services you may not have initially realized will be necessary to restore your business to it's original condition before the damage occurred. Commercial insurance takes these types of repairs into account and may include them under your policy.

2. Commercial Insurance May Recommend a Restoration Service Provider like SERVPRO

Another important aspect of commercial insurance is the fact that in many cases the carrier may have a preferred cleanup and restoration service provider they work with or contract. These providers are usually industry certified restoration professionals who may have a number of tools that allow them to communicate and work with your insurance provider. This means you won’t have to waste time looking for a trusted company, as your insurance agent or adjuster may already have their number on file.

3. Commercial Insurance May Cover Secondary Damages and Business Interruption

If your policy includes secondary damage coverage you may find that the cost of some unexpected repairs may be covered. Secondary damages are damages that occur as a result of the initial problem. For example, the need for a smoke cleanup, or water damage repairs could occur along with or after an initial fire damage.

Maintaining a commercial insurance policy for your St. Louis business can be a good idea for a number of reasons. A commercial policy may be able to cover a number of costs associated with cleanup and repairs, including the services from a restoration provider. Your insurance provider may even recommend a specific team for you to work with like SERVPRO. Additionally, depending on your policy, secondary damages may also be covered which can help with unexpected damages, not to mention monies for lost revenue due to business interruption.

We Are Here For You When Fire Damage Strikes

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

House Fire with flames coming from the roof. House Fire

The damage caused by a fire doesn’t end when the flames have been extinguished.  When dealing with fire damage, homeowners often see their possessions that they spent their lives working for along with the roof over their heads destroyed, leaving them searching for a safe place to stay while they figure out what's next. Meanwhile, businesses can find themselves in financial struggles and unable to deliver their goods and services leaving them exposed to potential loss of clients, marketing share and potentially not re-opening. Rapid fire damage restoration can hold the key to limiting the emotional and financial struggles caused by a fire. SERVPRO understands this and knows how important it is to get your lives back to normal and businesses back open.

EVERY 65 SECONDS!

According to the latest numbers from the National Fire Protection Association, a structure fire is reported every 65 seconds. When a fire alarm sounds, emergency responders and fire departments answer the call for help with rapid response and deployment to the scene of the fire. When the fire is out and the smoke clears, SERVPRO team members respond, ready to help with the same rapid response and quick deployment to your damage home or business – 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

WE ARE HERE FOR YOU ALWAYS

At SERVPRO, we never take a day off because we know fires happen anytime, all the time and we are to serve you!

Have You Checked Your Sump Pump Lately?

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

a green colored sump pump in a basement Sump Pump

A properly functioning sump pump can be the difference between an expensive water damage and a dry basement. There are two types of sump pumps that you may have in your basement: “submersible” pumps are installed under the floor in your basements, while the “pedestal” pump sits above your sump basin.  Sump pumps are used to “pump” groundwater away from your home and will evacuate large quantities of water, such as flooding and sewer backups to other areas, such as storm drains.  It's important to keep your sump pump in good working order, so it can keep your basement dry all year long. To learn more about sump pump maintenance, check out these common sump pump mistakes people make.

NEGLECT

Simply put, some homeowners never even check on their sump pumps until it's too late. Many homeowners simply ignore routine maintenance and checking their sump pump system on regular intervals. It's possible you may not have a properly functioning sump pump until your basement is several inches under water.

DO IT YOURSELF INSTALL

Have you ever told yourself; "I wish I would have called a professional to do it." If you’ve never installed a sump pump, don’t risk doing it yourself. You'll end up paying a lot more for damages than for the cost of proper installation by a professional installer. Hire a plumbing professional to avoid the risks of faulty installation.

NO BACKUP POWER

During a storm or utility company power outage, your home can lose power, causing your sump pump to shut down.  Should you experience flooding in your basement, a sump pump would redirect any incoming water. Keep your sump pump working during a power outage by connecting it to a backup power source, such as a generator or battery backup system.

IGNORING THE DISCHARGE PIPE/FLOAT SWITCH

Check that the drainage pipes are tightly connected and are directed away from your home’s foundation. Also, inspect the pipe for damage and clogs. Seek help at once if you find clogs or damage. Anything that impedes the flow could result in basement flooding due to slow drainage or no drainage at all.

The float switch tells the sump pump motor to stop once the water level goes below the float. Your sump pump needs ample space around the float to both float and sink freely. This should be inspected on a routine basis.

ROUTINE MAINTENANCE

Routine sump pump maintenance goes a long way in guarding against basement flooding. Schedule a thorough inspection with a septic tank maintenance professional or plumber twice a year. For professional water damage restoration or mold removal, contact SERVPRO of St. Louis Central.

Flash Flood Warning!

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

A flooded road with our logo Stay safe during a flash flood

Rain, rain go away, come again another day! Over the past few weeks, mother nature has decided to let loose of the rain in our area. To make sure you stay safe, here some suggestions to follow so you can stay safe in flash flooding situations.

If you are under a flood warning:

  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
    • Just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
  • Depending on the type of flooding:
    • Evacuate if told to do so.
    • Move to higher ground or a higher floor.
    • Stay where you are

Survive During a Flood:

  • Go to the safe location you previously identified.
  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Never drive around barricades. Local responders use them to safely direct traffic out of flooded areas.
  • Listen to EAS, NOAA Weather Radio or local alerting systems for current emergency information and instructions.
  • Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown!
  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water. Fast-moving water can wash bridges away without warning.
  • If your car is trapped in rapidly moving water stay inside. If water is rising inside the car get on the roof.
  • If trapped in a building, go to its highest level. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising floodwater. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there, signal for help.

Surviving After a Flood:

  • Listen to authorities for information and instructions. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Avoid driving except in emergencies.
  • Snakes and other animals may be in your house. Wear heavy gloves and boots during clean up.
  • Be aware of the risk of electrocution. Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off the electricity to prevent electric shock.
  • Avoid wading in floodwater, which can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
  • Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.